Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.12.2014

Gullible


Did you know that Shakespeare didn't actually write Shakespeare? That, in fact, he isn't the author of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and every other piece of writing attributed to him? The first time I realized this was when I was taking my SAT years ago. The essay question was on this very subject, and I found it fascinating, but never got around to researching it further. I saw, a few years later, that a movie had come out about the same topic (but never bothered to watch the film). And so a seed of doubt was planted. Based upon two very small pieces of information, I believed that there was definitely reasonable doubt as to Shakespeare's authorship.

It wasn't until last week, as Joel and I looked through the decade-old pictures of a trip he took to Great Britain with his family that I voiced aloud my doubt when we reached the photos commemorating his visit to Shakespeare's house. He looked at me with great amusement, and I realized to my consternation that I didn't know anything for certain. Research was definitely in order.

What did I find? Well, there is indeed loud controversy surrounding who wrote Shakespeare's creations. There's been many books on the subject, organizations formed, movies made, Wikipedia articles created, and more. And yet, the first suggestion of such a trick being played upon the whole world did not occur until 1857--241 years after Shakespeare's death! No contemporary of Shakespeare ever suggested such a masquerade; no written evidence has been uncovered corroborating the controversy; and the leaps of logic required to reach such a conclusion (certain bits of the plays match events in Francis Bacon's life, or Walter Raleigh's life, or--most recently popular--Edward de Vere's life) are hotly contested by academia. Indeed, award-winning scholar William Hunt said, "No, absolutely no competent student of the period, historical or literary, has ever taken this theory seriously. First of all, the founding premise is false -- there is nothing especially mysterious about William Shakespeare, who is as well documented as one could expect of a man of his time. None of his contemporaries or associates expressed any doubt about the authorship of his poems and plays. Nothing about De Vere (Oxford) suggests he had any great talent, and there is no reason to suppose he would have suppressed any talents he possessed [1]."

I had to laugh at myself for so glibly assuming such a conspiracy to be true, and to wonder at the people who are so avidly attempting to rewrite history while blindly ignoring facts, evidence, and truth.

And yet, I shouldn't be so surprised. A very many people do the exact same thing with God and His Word. 

"For since the creation of the world His invisible [attributes] are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify [Him] as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." {Romans 1:20-21 NKJV}

There are those who--like I did with Shakespeare--need only a few suggestions about evolution and the impotence of a god to believe the alternate theory that the world created itself or that Scripture is a literary gem, but not authored by God. They may not realize that "I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim to be divine rather than human in origin [2]," as Dr. Voddie Baucham so brilliantly put it.

The good news is that many of these people are no more truly educated in the matter of spiritual things than I was about Shakespeare. It may take only a look--only a question put in love, to cause them to reconsider the lie they have so unconsciously believed. It may take only a statement to cause a lifetime of assumptions to vaporize.



New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
[1] Blakemore, Bill. "'Anonymous': Was Shakespeare a Fraud?" ABC News. ABC News Network, 14 Oct. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.
[2] Baucham, Voddie. "Why I Choose to Believe the Bible." The Ever Loving Truth. 30 June 2005. Sermon Audio. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.

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